Dallas has few diversions other than eating, drinking and shopping.....and shopping does not interest us.
So we spend our time hopping from restaurant to restaurant and to every pub that we can find in search of the perfect meal and the perfect beer.

We randomly review restaurants and bars, dishes and beers at whim and give our brutally honest opinions of our findings. And while we concentrate on Dallas, we travel far and wide to sample cuisine from all regions of the country and beyond.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Oktoberfest Travels Part 4 - Tidbits and Useful Information

Here are a few tidbits of information that may (or may not) help you if you have never made the trip to Germany. 

1.  The Food:  You have all seen or heard the clichés about German pounding down sausages, schnitzels and beer.  Those clichés exist for a reason ... it's because Germans eat lots of sausages and schnitzels and drink an ass load of beer.  Vegetarian?  Vegan?  I would highly recommend doing a bit of research before you go because while vegan and vegetarian restaurants exist they are rare.  Not a fan of sausages and schnitzels?  Quit whining Nancy, you can also get a bit of fish. If I hear of you eating at McDonald's (even though they serve beer) while in Europe I will stick my foot up your backside.

2.  Bathrooms:  The good news is that bathrooms are easy to find and usually quite clean.  The bad news is that you will rarely find one that is free.  That's right, Peanut Bladder, expect to pay .50 cents or more every time you tinkle so hold it just a bit longer, OK?

3.  Money:  At the time of this year's Oktoberfest it cost $1.27 to buy one Euro.  What that means is that something tagged as 4.00 is really costing you about $5.00.  My advice is to ignore the money exchange rates and just have fun ... don't do the math.  There is also the 20% VAT (value added tax) added to just about everything you purchase.  There are tricks to getting back the VAT with larger purchases, but we typically just ignore them.  While you are not expected to tip at the 20% rate that we in the U.S. are forced to tip because restaurant owners are too cheap to pay their employees, a tip of between 5% and 10% is usual.  It is also important to note that the comma (,) and period (.) are reversed in Germany so a price will be shown as 1,50 instead of 1.50.

4. Transportation:  The public transportation is Europe is exceptional (  The cost of taking the S-Bahn (Stadtschnellbahn literally, "urban rapid rail") from the Munich airport to the center of Munich is about 1/5 the cost of taking a cab (though trying to figure out the ticket machine was the most difficult part of the journey).  Once you are in town you may take the trolley (very cool), buses or the subway (U-Bahn with 'U' meaning Underground, where you can't see anything, so don't use it, OK?).  Want to have an idea of the routes check this then print, memorize and eat the maps.  There will be a test.  Our recommendation for travel is to WALK, you lazy bastard!  The city center is small and easily walkable and besides, you need the exercise.

5.  The Language Barrier:  The country is called Germany (actually Deutschland) and they speak German (actually, they speak Deutsch) so don't expect anyone to speak English, even though many of them do.  Take the time before you go to learn a little Deutsch.  Pleasantries, numbers, how to order a beer (ein bier, bitte) and more.  Do not get frustrated or angry because they cannot communicate with you, it's their frigging country.  Just smile, shrug and walk away if you cannot understand.  My usual source to hone my mad language skills are the Pimsleur language courses ( which are quite reasonable priced and fairly decent for the minimal Deutsch needed to get by.

Next Up:  Oktoberfest Travels Part 5:  Oktoberfest

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